Bike

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Did You Know?

New York City is home to the largest network of bicycle lanes in North America, with over 1,000 miles of bike routes. The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) is committed to growing that network by at least 50 miles of bike lanes every year to encourage the expansion of bike culture and move toward safer streets and increased transportation options.

bicycle icon
Biking @ Columbia

Bike commuting at Columbia has more than doubled since 2004, growing to more than 1,000 bike commuters and the University Columbia the many benefits of bicycle travel as part of a healthy culture and a sustainable Columbia. Creating a more bike-friendly campus reduces traffic and parking congestion, improves the health of the University community, and offers an easy alternative travel mode to and around Columbia.

Available Bike-Related Services

Bike Topics

Free from cars and close to Columbia’s Manhattan campuses is the Hudson River Greenway trail, located on the western edge of Manhattan along the banks of the Hudson River. This bicycle and walking trail is part of the 2,900-mile long East Coast Greenway that stretches from the Canadian border in Maine to Key West, Florida.

See where bicyclists can access the Hudson River Greenway.

A person riding their bike on the Hudson River Greenway

A dedicated bike route separated from cars crosses the George Washington Bridge, making it easy, fun, and convenient to commute to Columbia by bike from New Jersey. Biking between Fort Lee, NJ and Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) takes about 15 minutes. Select the bike map layer in Google Maps to find your way by bike.

A person riding their bike on the George Washington Bridge

Cycling to and from the train station is usually a faster way to travel. Bicycles are permitted on all NYC subways with the exception of folding bikes, which are not permitted on most NYC transit buses. The Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad have a one-time $5 permit that allows its riders to bring their bicycle onboard.

Learn more about traveling with your bicycle aboard MTA trains and buses.

Bikes can be transported on all Columbia buses. When traveling with a bike on one of Columbia’s coach buses, notify the driver and they’ll help you load your bike into the luggage compartment.

When traveling with your bike on the Intercampus Shuttle, follow these instructions on using the self-loading bike rack:

Loading Your Bike

  • As the bus approaches, have your bike ready to load; remove loose items and accessories before placing on the exterior rack.
  • Always approach the bus from the curb side.
  • Tell the bus driver that you are loading a bike.
  • Squeeze the rack handle and lower the folded rack to release it.
  • Raise and release the support arm over the front tire. Make sure the support arm is open and secured over the front fender of the front tire.
  • Sit near the front of the bus and keep an eye on your bike.

Unloading Your Bike

  • Tell the driver that you need to unload your bike.
  • Raise the support arm off the tire, move the support arm down and out of the way.
  • Lift the bike off the rack.
  • Return the bike rack to a folded position.

Use the Google Maps website or app and select "bicycle" to navigate using designated bike routes. To receive a copy of the NYC bike map, visit Columbia Public Safety or view an online version.

Additionally, download the Columbia Bikes flyer which provides a quick overview of all the bicycle resources across our campuses.

Bike Laws

Some important NYC bicycling laws:

  • Yield to pedestrians.
  • Stop at all red lights and signs.
  • Ride in the direction of traffic.
  • Stay off the sidewalk (unless you’re under 13).
  • Use a white headlight and red taillight at night.
  • Use a bell to signal your presence.
  • Do not wear more than one earphone while riding.

Bicyclists should always wear a helmet. Wear it:

  • Snug and flat on your head.
  • With side buckles adjusted to form a “V” at your ear.
  • With chin strap buckled.
  • With enough room to fit one or two fingers under the strap.

Attend a Rules of the Road education class with Bike NY or learn about safe bicycling practices that are specific to NYC from the New York City Department of Transportation. View these educational videos to learn techniques for improving your ride, your rights as a bicyclist, and how to ride safely on the road. Become a safer rider through Traffic Skills 101, a free and convenient online course from the League of American Bicyclists.

Ride Your Bike to Campus Days

Meet other cyclists, register your bike, and get a free bike tune-up at one of Columbia’s Ride Your Bike to Campus Day events. These events are held on the Morningside and Medical Center campuses once per semester.

Morningside: Wednesday, September 5, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Low Plaza

CUIMC: Friday, September 7, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., corner of West 168 St. & Ft. Washington Ave.

  • Free bike registration with CU Public Safety and the NYPD
  • Free bike tune-ups with registration
  • Discounted bike locks and accessories

Velocity: Columbia’s Ride to End Cancer ‑ October 7, 2018

Ride your bike for a cause. Velocity is Columbia’s ride to end cancer. Participants choose from four distances that each end in Washington Heights. Free transportation and bike carrying services are available. Columbia University students can sign up with no registration fee at velocityride.org.

Bike NY Events

A variety of large and small-scale bike ride events are offered through Bike NY. Proceeds from Bike NY events fund their free bike education programs throughout the city year-round.

In order to maximize availability of bike parking and to maintain the upkeep of campus grounds, Columbia has developed the Bicycle Parking Protocol to manage bikes that are abandoned or illegally parked. Bikes that are illegally parked or stored at bike racks for extended periods of time will be subject to removal by Public Safety or Facilities personnel. Public Safety inspects and identifies bikes that, based on appearance and other factors, are most likely abandoned. The bikes will then be tagged with a notice and after a grace period of 21 days the bikes will be removed and stored at the Department of Public Safety. Persons wishing to reclaim their bicycles may do so by providing evidence of ownership and paying a storage fee. At the end of each academic year, unclaimed bicycles will be disposed of or donated. 

Columbia Groups

Columbia’s Bicycle Interest Group

Join Columbia’s Bicycle Interest Group to receive notices about bicycle-related activities at Columbia including group rides and free bike maintenance events.

Join Columbia's Bicycle Interest Group.

Transportation Focus Group

Columbia‘s Transportation Focus Group develops initiatives to enhance and grow bike culture at Columbia. The group is made up of representatives from various University departments, students, and faculty. The group supports the transportation goals outlined in Columbia’s Sustainability Plan.

Columbia University Cycling

Columbia University Cycling competes in collegiate and USCF races and is open to full-time students. Racing is primarily, but not limited to, the road-racing season in the spring. CU cycling competes at 8-9 ECCC races as well as select USCF races.

Community Resources

Bike New York

Bike New York is a local nonprofit and New York City’s leading proponent of cycling as a practical, sustainable, and healthy means of transportation and recreation. They offer free bike education programs throughout the five boroughs that teach kids and adults how to ride a bike, and how to do so safely and confidently in the city. Bike New York organizes numerous annual events, including the TD Five Boro Bike Tour (the world’s biggest charitable bike ride), Bike Expo New York, and smaller community rides.

Getting there by bike is usually faster, healthier, and way more fun than other commute modes.

The League of American Bicyclists has recognized Columbia University as a Bronze Bicycle Friendly University℠ and a Silver Bicycle Friendly Business℠ for its efforts in supporting bicycling.

A silver medal and bronze medal for "Bicycle Friendly Business" from the League of American Bicyclists